"Surname. AppID . SA ID **. Your application for SASSA COVID 19 SRD Grant is declined. You currently have income from other sources."
This a sample of the messages thousands of applicants of the Special social relief of distress introduced in May and was announced by the president, to be paid to people who have no source of livelihood.
Millions of people applied in April through to May.
In the requirements for the application were the following :
- Must be above 18 years of age
- Must be unemployed
- Not receiving any income
- Not receiving any social grant.
- Not receiving any unemployment insurance benefit and does not qualify to receive the unemployment insurance benefit
- Not receiving a stipend from the National Student Financial Aid Scheme (NSFAS) and any other grants from the government.
For now all those who have had their application declined claim they have no employment and does not receive income. Have they had their contract with employers terminated or they themselves stopped working.
Do they qualify for unemployment insurance fund but have not applied? Are truly sure they are not enjoying some forms of government grant?
The questions are endless. Admittedly, some people may want to take advantage of the system and take money they do not qualify.
But for now, SASSA has to be specific and give actual reasons why one’s application has been declined. Those who have had their applications declined have the opportunity to appeal and seek the reasons why their applications were turned down by sassa as enshrined in the Constitution of the Republic of South Africa. The Promotion of Access to Information is the Act that gives every South African the opportunity to access information by someone or a government agency or department.
Below is the section of the Act from the official government website GOV.ZA:
The purpose of the Promotion of Access to Information Act is to ensure that people can exercise their constitutional right of access to any information that is required for the exercise or protection of any right and is held by:
(b) another person.
The motivation for giving effect to the right of access to information is to foster a culture of transparency and accountability in both public and private bodies and to promote a society in which the people of South Africa have effective access to information to enable them to fully exercise and protect all their rights.
To what information, held by government departments or any public body, can access be obtained?
You may request access to all documentation and records held by any government department, its officials or any other public body. It does not matter when that information came into existence. These include:
- personal records held by a government department or a public body
- third party information or records: only with permission from the relevant third party, especially if the documents contain confidential or private information
- information to which access is not restricted by the Promotion of Access to Information Act
From the excerpts of the above Act, SASSA will have to clarify their decision to decline those applicants. Otherwise, those affected applicants can take the necessary steps to redress from the appropriate quarters.
Below are some of the reasons your R350 application might have been declined:
- You already receive other Sassa grants (eg: child grant, disability grant, etc)
- You are employed (either permanently or temporarily)
- You were approved for government RDP housing
- You received or owe NSFAS
- You have a company registered in your name
- You registered and other government assistance or relief like food parcels
But in these, SASSA will be in the best position to state specific reasons. We are hoping that as time goes by, SASSA will clarify its stance. So let us keep our fingers crossed as we wait for SASSA to explain in detail.